Aly Raisman details ‘uncomfortable’ sessions with abusive doctor
Aly Raisman did not want to question Larry Nassar’s training methods. For someone with an esteemed reputation, she “felt guilty for thinking badly” about someone so well-liked. But as the Olympian details in her forthcoming book, “Fierce,” the longtime osteopath abused the gymnast in a sexual manner.
“I would grit my teeth,” Raisman wrote, per People, “trying to convince myself that all this was part of the healing process. The truth was he never made my injuries feel any better, but I always obeyed because he had a reputation for being the best doctor.”
Raisman, 23, revealed on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” that Nassar, who spent nearly three decades with USA Gymnastics, started treating her when she was 15. It wasn’t until she visited other athletic trainers that she realized their methods differed greatly from Nassar’s.
“When I lay on my stomach to have my hamstrings worked on, towels were draped over my hips and buttocks for privacy and to ensure there was no inappropriate skin-to-skin contact. They never, ever crossed any lines in where they massaged,” Raisman described.
“And there was never a moment when their methods made me uncomfortable. It was different with Larry. I would lie on the table, my hands involuntarily balling themselves into fists as his ungloved hands worked their way under my clothing. ‘Treatment sessions’ with him always made me feel tense and uncomfortable.”
Raisman also shared that she “didn’t question when Larry would sometimes close his eyes or seem out of breath when he worked on me.” Given her lifestyle of traveling, training and competing, Raisman found herself making excuses for his “strange behavior.” She also discovered she wasn’t the only one who was suspicious of Nassar’s methods.
“Over the years, among the girls who were invited to camps, there was some talk of Larry and his ‘treatment methods.’ Most of us thought the way he touched us was weird. But he did it to so many of us that we assumed, blindly, that he must know something we didn’t…,” Raisman recalled.
Nassar has been accused by more than 130 women of sexual assault, including Raisman’s Fab Five teammate from the 2012 London games, McKayla Maroney, who described a haunting memory in which she found herself alone in Nassar’s hotel room after consuming a sleeping pill during the 2011 world championships in Tokyo. Nassar currently awaits trial on criminal sexual conduct charges and has pleaded not guilty.
Ahead of Raisman’s “60 Minutes” interview, the gold medalist addressed the crowd Friday at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards in New York, where she spoke about her experiences.
“Most people know me as a gymnast,” Raisman said, via People. “But I am also a survivor. I am among a huge number of young gymnasts abused by US Olympic and USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
“This man held a position of influence and power in the sport for more than 20 years. The extent of harm he caused is beyond comprehension. More than 130 young women have filed lawsuits alleging abuse by Nassar and we may never know how many others may be suffering in silence. I stand here for all of them.”
In the wake of her revelation, Raisman thanked fans Tuesday morning on Twitter.